Categorized | National News

Passport Office Clarifies Fees

The Passport Office advised yesterday that the statements and assertions made by Democratic National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney on the fee for emergency passports are “misleading and untrue.”

A statement released by the Passport Office explained that the emergency fee does not apply to any person who applied for a passport before July1, 2015.

Last week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell announced that persons, who need to have their passports within 48 hours of the application after July 1, can have their passports processed with the payment of a fee of $200 to obtain the passport on an emergency basis.

“Those who have applied before July 1 and were given a date certain for the production of the passport, will not have to pay any additional fee for the production of the passport if needed at short notice,” Mitchell explained.

According to the Passport Office, the fee will affect a limited number of people and if planning is done ahead, the fee is not applicable.

“The new fee structure does not apply to anyone who applied before July 9, 2015 or in a timely manner. The Passport Office has just announced special measures to deal with anyone who needs their passport who applied before July 9, 2015,” the statement read.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that passport applicants with verifiable emergency needs for their passports prior to the collection date provided or whose collection date has expired and the passport is still not ready, can now email this information, along with the details of the application (name, date of birth and application ID number) to

The ministry assured that dedicated staff has been assigned to process the emails, track the application and expedite the application to meet the date of travel or commitment requiring a passport at no additional cost.

Applicants will then be emailed a new collection date. This applies only to applications submitted before July 9, 2015.

However, the Passport Office will continue to provide special consideration to students returning to school or those who are representing the country abroad.

It was explained that the $200 fee became necessary because the Passport Office was often inundated with requests from people who planned trips costing in the tens of thousands of dollars but did not check to see before they attempted to travel if their $50 passport had expired.

“They would present themselves to the airport and find out there that the passport expired, then run to the Passport Office and expect the Passport Office to produce the passport within minutes, dropping everything to serve them,” the statement read.

“Sometimes people have been called in on weekends and after hours to fulfill these emergency requests. Inevitably one of the reasons why people who followed the rules and applied in a timely manner could not and cannot get their passports on time is because of these untimely requests. The fee is meant to compensate the office for the costs incurred.”

In addition, the fee is also meant to deal with those who chronically lose their passports, largely through negligence, the Passport Office explained.

However, the Passport Office is not in a position to meet the overtime costs without some source of payment.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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